Re: What to do!?!?
I see you live in Texas. There are several rheumatologists in Houston, also Dallas. Like the AP, I, too, have experienced much joint destruction. I've had one hip replaced 2x, both knees replaced, both ankles fused, multiple hand surgeries, both ankles fused, and 2 spinal fusions! Ok, I didn't want to scare or depress you with my history, everyone is different. And despite all, I live a normal, active life. But really, I could have done without all that!
There are a lot of misconceptions about arthritis, even among doctors. Its amazing what they don't know. Like the RA factor, that's not a definite indicator. Actually, there is no one definite test for RA. By chance, do you or any close family members have psoraisis? There is a disease called psoriatic arthritis. it closely resembles RA, and the treatment is essentially the same. I also have psoraisis, but one doesn't have to actually have psoraisis to be diagnosed with psoraitic arthritis.
Well, I don't want to depress or frighten you---at your age, with my health conditions, I was extremely depressed, frightened, discouraged. But I do want you to know that IF its indeed RA (and you don't really know for sure at this point), it can be quite destructive. The disease can continue for many years without presenting many problems, but if/when it does become destructive, it can rapidly progress.
Like I said, there are many new drugs now that are much more effective than when I was your age to treat RA and related conditions. Please, don't get involved in "alternative" therapy, like vitamins, etc. At best, its a waste of time and money, at worst, it can waste valuable time in getting control of the condition.
Good luck! And Happy Holidays!